Peripheral nervous system communicates with vast network that transmits information from brain to spinal cord to various parts of the body. These nerves send sensory information back to brain and spinal cord. Damage to the nervous system interferes with various vital connections and leads to peripheral neuropathy. Mononeuropathies involves damage to a single nerve whereas polyneuropathy is caused by multiple nerves being affected. When two or more nerves in the separate areas of the body are affected, the condition is known as mononeuritis multiplex. There are around 100 types of peripheral neuropathy with different characteristic set of symptoms, development and causes.
Signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy
Signs and symptoms are related to the type of affected nerve which may be seen over the period of time.
Diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy
The diagnosis is usually difficult because of the variable symptoms. Primarily a general physical examination is needed.
Treatment for Peripheral Neuropathy
Primarily any underlying condition is treated followed by the systematic treatment. Control of blood glucose levels, maintaining an optimal weight, eating a balanced diet. Avoiding alcohol consumption can greatly help to reduce this disease. Usage of Immunosuppressive drugs such as prednisone, cyclosporine, or azathioprine may be beneficial.
Drugs which have proved useful to treat peripheral neuropathy are mexiletine (used to correct heart beat), antiepileptic drugs, antidepressants and anesthetics to relieve more intractable pain.
Orthopedic shoes are used to improve gait disturbances and help prevent foot injuries. Surgical intervention gives immediate relief from mononeuropathies caused due to compression or entrapment injuries. Malignant tumor removal can alleviate the damaging pressure on the nerves. Other treatments like TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) can also be used.